I collect books like they are going out of fashion. I acquire them at a much faster rate than I can actually read them so I’m putting a moratorium on buying borrowing or otherwise acquiring books till I’ve read most of them. This is a list of what I’m going to start with:

Generation F
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People
Letters from Burma
Made from this Earth
Crossing the River
The Female Malady
A Restricted Country
The Memory Box
Unruly Bodies: Life Writing by Women with Disabilities
The Anathemata
Rethinking the Man Question: Sex, Gender and Violence in International Relations
Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing
Early Irish Myths and Sagas
Carol Rumens: Poems 1968-2004
The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore
Notorious Voices: Feminist Biblical Interpretation, 1500-1920
Women Race and Class
Identity Poetics: Race, Class and the Lesbian-Feminist Roots of Queer Theory
The Prose Edda: Norse Mythology

One of the most insidious ways patriarchy damages us is by damaging our mothers, by abusing and mistreating them and teaching them lies about what women are for and what they are worth and then demanding, expecting that they pass that damage, that knowledge on to us.

I had two mothers and my relationship with both of them was completely toxic, poisoned all the way through by what the patriarchy had done to them and then what they did to me. None of these relationships can be rebuilt, there is too much damage and pain there. One of my mothers is dead now and one of them chose to side with patriarchal belief’s and structures rather than have a relationship with me.

I know a lot of women who’s mothers were abusive, and how do we learn feminism, how do we learn to love women when our female caregivers have hurt us so badly? How do we learn to have compassion for women in the same positions our mothers were? How do we aknowlege and label the hand patriarchy has in damaging mother/daughter relationships without suggesting that our mothers had no responsiblity for what they did to us and without minimising our pain?

We live in a society that blames mothers for everything that goes wrong despite the fact that statistically it is fathers/male care givers who are much more often physically and sexually abusive and financially, emotionally and physically absent so sometimes being angry at our own mothers seems like a betrayal of feminism, a betrayal of the world we are trying to build.

One of the things we need to do is look at anger through a feminist lens rather than believing all the things patriarchal society tells us about anger, we learn that anger has to be violent, abusive, has to be about taking someones power from them, we learn that we cannot love someone if we are angry with them, we learn that anger can not be congruent with compassion for those we are angry with.

I am not suggesting we ever have to be okay with the damage our mothers did us, or that we have to have a relationship with them if that is bad for us, our sense of self, our boundaries, but we can learn compassion for our mothers and female caregivers who hurt us at the same time as being angry with them, we can use the anger we have for them as a force to heal the damage they did to us, as a force to learn how to have happy healthy non toxic relationships with the women in our lives, to learn how not to perpetuate the cycle of women damaging each other,

Serendipidously as I was thinking about my mothers and thinking about writing this post I stumbed acros a post by radfemcrafts and I think she puts it perfectly when she says

I want better for me and the only way to get better for me is to get better for them. That’s what it means to take the pro-woman line. If I can’t understand their internalized hatred of themselves for being women in the patriarchy, how will I ever understand what was done to me? How will I ever understand the enormity of their own hurt that they tried to unburden onto me? And how will I ever understand that trying to unshoulder the pain onto other girls and women like they did doesn’t work? Only radical feminism unlocks these thoughts and lets them see sunshine.

(also featuring Nina Kinert, Ane Brun, First Aid Kit and Ellekari Larsson)

Charmaine Elliott over at Blackfeminists Writes I loot therefore I am

It has been asked ‘how can these people do that to their communities?’ That’s the point; it isn’t their community. Up and down the country playgrounds are locked, basketball courts are locked, in Hammersmith the Tory-led council transformed a football field into a polo pitch (let’s not talk about the libraries, because yes, young people hung out there, too). Whose community is that? It’s not their’s and there has been precious little attempt to open it up to them. The cuts have cut them out. These communities have not been sites of enjoyment for them in the large, they have been where the police harass them, teachers are prejudiced against them, bus drivers drive by, and potential employers just say no.

Harpymarx writes No one cares about the riots of the rich

NL and the ConDems promote a society based on individualism with a backdrop of consumerism, goods that many cannot afford to buy. So why the surprise that people riot and loot. If individualism and the “I’m-alright-Jack” mentality is promoted then people will react in that way. Thatcher will be proud. You make people feel powerless, disenfranchised, lack control on their lives, impoverished then don’t be surprised if people react in a disorganised individualistic way. People rioted for many different reasons but if you instil a sentiment of no hope or future then what do you expect.

MaryTracy writes Dear Britain

Dear Britain.

Thank you for showing your human self. Humans react when provoked. And it’s a relief to discover that despite centuries of indoctrination and “civilization”, you can respond to the violence done upon you.

My personal revenge will be your children’s

right to schooling and to flowers.

My personal revenge will be this song

bursting for you with no more fears.

My personal revenge will be to make you see

the goodness in my people’s eyes,

implacable in combat always

generous and firm in victory.

My personal revenge will be to greet you

“Good morning!” in streets with no beggars,

when instead of locking you inside

they say, “Don’t look so sad!”

When you, the torturer,

daren’t lift your head.

My personal revenge will be to give you

these hands you once ill-treated

with all their tenderness intact.

Margaret Thatcher on TV
Shocked by the deaths that took place in Beijing
It seems strange that she should be offended
The same orders are given by her

I’ve said this before now
You said I was childish and you’ll say it now
Remember what I told you:
If they hated me they will hate you

England’s not the mythical land of Madame George and roses
It’s the home of police who kill black boys on mopeds
And I love my boy and that’s why I’m leaving
I don’t want him to be aware that there’s
Any such thing as grieving

Young mother down at Smithfield
5 am, looking for food for her kids
In her arms she holds three cold babies
And the first word that they learned was “please”

These are dangerous days
To say what you feel is to dig your own grave
Remember what I told you:
If you were of the world they would love you

England’s not the mythical land of Madame George and roses
It’s the home of police who kill blacks boys on mopeds
And I love my boy and that’s why I’m leaving
I don’t want him to be aware that there’s
Any such thing as grieving.